Dan Snaith has a PhD in math and passion for music
A bona fide Dr. of Mathematics, Dan Snaith (a.k.a. Caribou) prefers to pour his talent into music than into the world of numbers.
Though Snaith moved to London, England in late 2001 to pursue a mathematics PhD at Imperial College, University of London, he has yet to use it. For this singer/songwriter — originally from Dundas, Ont. — it’s all about the musical notes, lyrics and instruments and not equations and numerology.
So why spend all that time and money studying something he has no passion for? It’s his backup plan, something to fall back on in case the music career doesn’t continue to pan out as he hopes.
“I haven’t used it at all since the day I had the PhD exam or whatever, and I mean it’s always been a dream for me to do music full time,” says Snaith. “And so long as I’m excited to do that, as far as I know I have no plans that that will change, and as long as it’s feasible to do, I’m going to keep doing it.”
After a year of burying himself in his music, Snaith has created another record, Andorra, released on Merge Records. The album hit the No. 1 spot on the Top 50 Canadian Campus radio chart. Compared to previous albums, Snaith describes Andorra as his kind of pop album.
“I kind of squished all the music into pop-song format — compared to a lot of pop music, I guess the word psychedelic kind of gets thrown around a lot when people describe my music,” says Snaith.
“There’s lots of sounds coming in and out of the mix in my music all the time, there’s lot of different sounds, not necessarily instruments but all sorts of things in the mix.”
Music was always a part-time thing for Snaith, especially while putting himself through school. He started by abducting musical electronics from his high school’s music department, and through the years released four acclaimed albums.
“I started playing piano when I was five years old, but it was kind of always a chore like it is with lots of kids I guess,” he says. “At about 12 or 13 I started taking piano lessons where I could play, I learned about pop music, and how music was put together rather than just kind of reading classical music off a page — the idea of being able to make music myself, being able to write music that really got me interested.”
Snaith will be in town for a concert at the Opera House tomorrow night.